Big 12 News

Taiyanna Jackson Makes Naismith Defensive Award Watch List

NCAA Basketball: George Mason at Kansas

Kansas center Taiyanna Jackson was the only Big 12 player named to the initial Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award watch list, released on Tuesday.

A player for a future Big 12 program also made the list, as BYU forward Lauren Gustin was part of the initial 15-player list.


Jackson, one of three centers selected, is having her best season so far with Kansas. She leads the Big 12 and is third in the country with 54 blocked shots and ranks fifth in the country in field goal percentage (64.9) and rebounds per game (12.7).

She has a Big 12-leading 12 double-doubles. She has had at least two blocked shots in 15 games this season, including 10 games with three or more blocks.

Jackson leads the Jayhawks with 14.8 points per game and has scored in double figures 15 times in 18 games, with a career-high 24 points at Saint Mary’s on Nov. 26.

She set a KU single-season record with 95 blocked shots last year, earning All-Big 12 Defensive Team honors. She already ranks third all-time at Kansas with 149 blocked shots.

The award goes to the most outstanding women’s defensive basketball player. The top 10 will be announced Feb. 27 and the four finalists will be announced March 13.

2023 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Watch List


G Brea Beal, Sr., South Carolina

F Aliyah Boston, Sr., South Carolina

F Cameron Brink, Jr., Stanford

F/C Brooke Flowers, Sr., St. Louis

F Lauren Gustin, Jr., BYU

C Taiyanna Jackson, Jr., Kansas

G Leilani Kapinus, So., Penn State

C Elizabeth Kitley, Sr., Virginia Tech

G/F Rayah Marshall, So., USC

F Aneesah Morrow, So., DePaul

G Ny’Ceara Pryor, Fr., Sacred Heart

G Helena Pueyo, Sr., Arizona

F Angel Reese, So., LSU

G Celeste Taylor, Sr., Duke

G Dontavia Waggoner, Jr., Boston College

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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